Assessing the Reasons Behind Atypical SNAP Account Activity

Project Overview

Households that receive assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the largest program in the domestic nutrition assistance safety net, typically redeem most of their benefits within 2 weeks of receiving them and most of the remainder within a month. Most of the transactions occur at a retailer situated within a few miles of the household’s residence. However, some households carry large balances on their electronic benefit transfer account from month to month. Others redeem their benefits at retailers outside their state. This study seeks to define unusual account activity and identify the reasons behind it.

Specifically, Insight is addressing the objectives:

  • Statistically describe the benefit redemption patterns across all SNAP households.
  • Describe the demographic and geographic characteristics of typical versus atypical account holders.
  • Describe state policies related to atypical account activity.


Final report